Wilmington Police (WPD) and the City’s Department of Licenses (L & I) and Inspections have closed five stores after a lengthy shoplifting investigation.
The investigation into a string of shoplifting incidents at city-based pharmacies has led to a joint operation with L & I to disrupt criminal activity and impose sanctions on businesses for various violations, officials said on Tuesday.
Over the course of several weeks, Wilmington Police detected a trend of shoplifting incidents from various Walgreens and CVS locations throughout the City.
Through the course of their investigation, police learned that some individuals responsible for shoplifting incidents in Wilmington were in communication with staff from various small businesses and markets throughout the city, police said.
Officials said WPD received intelligence that some of these stores provide details about items of interest, ordinarily soap, body wash, and deodorant, to individuals who then steal those items from pharmacies and bring them to these small businesses in exchange for approximately $1 per item. Those items are then resold to customers of those small businesses at a higher price, officials added.
Police have identified five stores that they say participating in these incidents. The stores are listed as follows:
Shorman Mini Market – 2215 Washington Street
City Markey and Deli – 2402 N Market Street
Franklin Market – 128 N Franklin Street
Lucky Stop – 2212 N Market Street
High Savings Market – 418 N Scott Street
After receiving this information, and under the leadership of Lt. Matthew Hall and Sgt. Paul Ciber, officers coordinated with the City Department of Licenses and Inspections to launch a joint operation and conduct investigations at each of the abovementioned businesses, officials said.
On June 3, authorities visited each location, where police located stolen merchandise bearing Walgreens or CVS labels at each of the five locations, according to police. Those items were seized.
L&I officials identified additional violations, including those related to electrical, plumbing, structural issues, lack of appropriate city licenses, health licenses, certificates, and other infractions. L & I immediately ordered the closure of all five businesses pending compliance.
Lt. Hall, who serves as the watch commander for the C Platoon, applauded the work of officers who detected and investigated the trend.
“This is a strong example of the leadership displayed by our patrol officers and street supervisors in addressing crime and quality-of-life issues throughout Wilmington,” said Lt. Hall. “Our officers noticed this trend and leveraged intelligence and community support to determine what was taking place, identify those responsible, and partner with another city agency to take swift action.”
Hall also expressed appreciation for the efforts of Licenses and Inspections officials and supervisors for their support.
“This is a textbook example of a true partnership between two city agencies that collaborated to address an issue affecting the community,” Lt. Hall added.